Pubdate: Fri, 05 Jan 2018
Source: Regina Leader-Post (CN SN)
Copyright: 2018 The Leader-Post Ltd.
Author: Heather Polischyuk
Page: A1


Corrections officials have antidote available for potential

Fentanyl has been found within all the province's adult correctional
centres, a provincial spokesman has confirmed.

The drug has made the news repeatedly, blamed for a rash of deaths
throughout the country. As with other trends in the illegal drug
world, Saskatchewan has been far from immune, having witnessed a
number of deaths and non-fatal overdoses related to this and other

Drew Wilby, spokesman for the Ministry of Justice, said one other
pattern has proved true here - that what's available on the streets is
also available in jail.

"What happens in a correctional facility is usually a pretty close
correlation to what's happening on the street," Wilby said. "If
there's any street drug that's out, chances are likely they're trying
to get it into the facility in some way or another. To use fentanyl as
an example, we've confiscated fentanyl pills in I believe all of our
major correctional facilities over the last couple of years. So as
those things appear on the street, they also appear within the walls
of the facility."

Those looking to bring contraband inside the jail have resorted to a
number of methods, such as the use of drones and drug mules who
deliberately get themselves arrested so they can bring secreted items
inside. When it comes to the extremely hazardous powdered fentanyl,
staff is told to remain constantly alert to the possibility of it
arriving via mail.

"The challenge for us is to stay ahead of the way that those elements
of contraband are being brought in," Wilby said, referring to more
potent drugs like fentanyl and crystal meth. "With the size of those
and of course being smaller and easier to potentially bring into a
facility, it's important for us to figure out how that's happening and
make sure that it doesn't continue."

The potency of fentanyl means it can be easier to bring inside but,
once there, can have a devastating effect - as can other drugs. While
not confirmed as fentanyl, several in-custody overdoses made the news
recently, including one in which three inmates apparently overdosed
while at court in Regina. In another, a coroner's jury was asked to
consider the case of a youth who died after overdosing on
methamphetamine while in custody at Saskatoon's Kilburn Hall.

Wilby added there have been a number of other instances in which
provincial jail staff have had to administer naloxone. All
correctional officers in adult facilities and workers in youth
facilities have been trained in the use of naloxone (under the brand
name Narcan), and Wilby said the opiate antidote was used five times
in the adult facilities between February and Dec. 1, the last date
numbers were available.

Nurses in these facilities are able to administer injectable naloxone
while deputy sheriffs have the antidote available at the courthouses
and within transport vehicles, Wilby added.

He said while there hasn't been a lot of fentanyl found inside the
jails, corrections staff and those making up a drug task force -
consisting of several government ministries and community partners,
including police - are evervigilant to the possibility of more.

"We try and find unique ways of dealing with that and addressing that
and working with our partners in other jurisdictions to see what's
working for them, whether that be looking at the use of ion scanners
or body scanners or something of that nature," Wilby said. "And so we
continue to do that work and try to find the best ways of stopping
these (drugs) before they do come into the walls of the facility."
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